Not unlike last week’s opponent, there’s an all-or-nothing feel among many sports fans when it comes to Philadelphia.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em. There’s not much room in between.

Getty ImagesLove lost for the Eagles in Tampa Bay is minimal – perhaps nonexistent – aside from those transplanted from that region of the northeast. Philadelphia rose up the ranks of most disliked NFL franchises among Bucs fans at the turn of the millennium. It began with 2000’s 21-3 NFC Wild Card loss in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve and only grew as the Eagles ran off three more consecutive wins, including another in the postseason in early 2002.

Tampa Bay finally reversed the trend in a big way in January 2003, earning a trip to the Super Bowl by slamming the Eagles 27-10 in the NFC Championship Game and ensuring the last NFL football game ever played at Veterans Stadium was a Bucs win.

That still doesn’t mean Philly and its fan base is despised any less by much of the Bucs faithful. And it’s not just because of a few disappointing losses. It’s the fans themselves and their dedicated but unflattering and ugly reputation that’s well-known throughout the sports world.

No current Bucs players were around during those early 2000’s years. Most were somewhere between high school and grade school, so they don’t harbor the same feelings of fans. Plenty of veterans have been to Lincoln Financial Field, however, and are familiar with the atmosphere that awaits.

“I played with the Cowboys last year, so it was fun. It’s rowdy,” said defensive tackle Henry Melton. “They love their Eagles up there so we’re excited to play up there and hopefully leave with a W.”

Getty Images“They’ve got a good fan base,” said center Joe Hawley, who played in Philadelphia twice as a member of the Falcons. “They have a lot of tradition there and they get loud. It’s a hostile environment and we need to be ready to play for sure.”

The conference title victory in 2003 also marked the first time any Bucs team won a game when the mercury dipped below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not anticipated to be that nippy at kickoff Sunday, but the National Weather Service is calling for temperatures in the high 40s.

While the heat and humidity has begun to break locally, plenty of Bucs said they’re looking forward to playing in jacket weather this weekend.

“I love cold games,” said receiver Mike Evans. “You don’t sweat as much and you’ve got more energy. I get an IV most games because of the heat and I want to get a little extra juice, but cold games, I like those a lot.”

What qualifies as “cold” to players differs, though. Evans, born in Galveston, Texas, probably doesn’t have quite the tolerance to low temps as rookie right guard Ali Marpet, of Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

“I don’t know how cold it’s going to be,” Marpet said. “I’m used to playing in the snow at this point. At Hobart [College] there’s usually snow at this time, so it’s weird playing and it’s still humid and hot.”

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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jongruden
jongruden
5 years ago

I hate Philly more than any other sports team in football, the fans act like they are super bowl champions for some reason when they are the biggest underachievers in sports history. I was at the Matt Bryant Field goal game and let me tell you I wore my Ronde Barber Jersey and kept pointing behind my back like Barber did on the pick 6 to the house in Philly and said to their fans who were extremely obnoxious ” I bet you remember Barber doing this don’t you” ha Loved that Barber had two picks that day in fact… Read more »

e
e
Reply to  jongruden
5 years ago

They’re classless. One of the only places that fans will cheer for an injured opponent. I still count Ronde’s INT return for a TD the greatest play in Bucs history.

Iabucfan
Iabucfan
Reply to  e
5 years ago

No question they are some sick fans. I remember that Joe Jurevicius had a son born premature during the week of that NFC championship game. Sadly, he passed. The following season, The Bucs open up the new Linc with a 17-0 victory. During that game, some Eagle fans were heckling him “where’s your son?”. They are real sick bastards. I enjoy it when the Eagles loose just for that.
e, I agree, that was the greatest play in Bucs history. Go Bucs! Let’s cause some more pain.

e
e
Reply to  Iabucfan
5 years ago

Wasn’t it Michael Irvin that laid motionless on the Vet carpet with those losers cheering his injury?

scubog
scubog
Reply to  jongruden
5 years ago

I was at that game too JonnyG. The Eagles fans were in shock. Each one looked like the E-Trade baby. I know this, no fans can exit a stadium faster than those Philadelphia thugs did in 2003.

georgehicks
georgehicks
5 years ago

I hope tampa will neutral the Eagles

inspecto
inspecto
Reply to  georgehicks
5 years ago

I hope you mean neuter. I too agree with all of the above about the flegals.
Go Bucs !!

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

I consider Philly Football Fans the gutter class fans of the NFL. They might be good kind loving people, but when they watch their Eagles play they become scum.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Jongruden, I remember that Philly game as well. Had two Philly fans sitting behind me that kept wolfing crap during the game. I really laid into them after the field goal.
Told them that Barber owned their QB like the bi%$h he was.
Nice to share that memory with you. It’s great their are fans on this board that have actually gone to the games.

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

Never missed one in 40 years. Some were not much fun; but the way that game ended was one of the best.